Reflections on the shift of economic gravity from the Atlantic to the Pacific



28 May 2012

Former Prime Minister Paul Keating reflected on Australia’s relationship with the United States in a conversation at Sydney's Customs House with Australia’s preeminent print journalist Paul Kelly. From helping found the APEC leaders meeting and the WTO to contributing to humanitarian interventions and peacekeeping in Africa, the Keating government worked closely with the administrations of George HW Bush and Bill Clinton. Since leaving office former Prime Minister Keating has been an influential commentator on Australia’s alliance with the US in the context of emerging Asia and the rise of China.


  • The Honourable Paul Keating
    Former Prime Minister of Australia

    The Honourable Paul Keating spoke at the US Studies Centre event "Reflections on the Shift of Economic Gravity from the Atlantic to the Pacific" in May 2012. Keating was the 24th Prime Minister of Australia, who held office between 20 December 1991 to 11 March 1996. As Prime Minister, Keating implemented a progressive reform program, which included the introduction of a compulsory national superannuation scheme to redress national savings and to provide more adequate retirement incomes. Under the Keating government, historic Native Title legislation to return land to indigenous Australians was also implemented.

    Foreign policy under Keating was focused sharply on Australia’s relationship with Asia. He established the APEC leaders' meeting in 1992, with its commitment to regional free trade. For the first time, there was a formal strategic structure in the Pacific where the US President, the President of China, the Prime Minister of Japan, the President of Indonesia and other national leaders could meet annually. In 1996, Keating left Parliament.

    Keating has been awarded honorary doctorates in law from Keio University in Japan (1995), the National University of Singapore (1999), the University of New South Wales (2003) and an honorary doctorate of letters from Macquarie University (2012).

  • Paul Kelly
    Editor-at-Large, The Australian

    Paul Kelly is Editor-at-Large of The Australian. He was previously Editor-in-Chief of The Australian (1991-1996). He writes on Australian and international issues and is a regular commentator on television. Kelly is the author of nine successful books.